Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Sammy Piccolo National Post Diary

Sammy Piccolo is without any doubt one of the most famous Barista's in the world.
Managing with his brothers the Artigiano Coffee Company from Vancouver Canada he is a real coffee connoisseur and entertained the World Barista Championships for many years. He finished 2nd, 3rd and 2nd at the last three WBC finals! Maybe he's a bit comparable with snooker player Jimmy White, without any doubt the most popular billiard player never becoming world champion.
Last week we had the opportunity to follow his professional life in a week diary he wrote for the Canadian National Post.

Here his contribution from last Thursday, when he talks about the upcoming Championships in Tokyo :

Sammy Piccolo, National Post

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2007

This week's diarist is Canadian champion barista Sammy Piccolo, the only person in history to place in the top three for three consecutive years at the world championships. He kept his diary last week.

Today, I headed to 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters, where the Canadian National Barista Champion is training for the (World Barista Championships). Colter Jones is one of the managers at Caffe Artigiano, and the only barista other than me to represent Canada. It's time to pass the torch. I'm very excited for him. This competition is the biggest and most prestigious recognition in the specialty coffee industry. There will be baristas from over 40 countries competing in Tokyo this year. And it's only weeks away!

I watched Colter perform the presentation he will give to the judges. He will be evaluated for 15 minutes as he prepares four cappuccino, four espresso and four coffee drinks. He prepared his cappuccino first. Creating latte art on these cappuccinos isn't as easy as it looks. If you've ever been to a cafe that pours latte art, you'll notice that with a wiggle of their wrist, a barista can create an intricate pattern with the milk and crema of the espresso. But Colter has more to think about than just the design at the top of the cup. The six judges will be scrutinizing everything from the foam on his cappuccino, to what colour the crema is in the espresso. They also evaluate overall barista skills and even how clean your grinder is.

The last drinks he made were his signature drinks. I promised him that I'd keep these details secret. The signature drink is a barista's true expression of his or her personality. These drinks often take many months to develop and perfect. The drink requires a strong espresso taste and is judged on creativity, craftsmanship and visual presentation. The world will be watching to see how well Canada does this year. Canada is undefeated by an American competitor. Go, Colter, go! No pressure, but beating the U.S. is always great, even if just for the bragging rights! -Tomorrow, cupping Kenyan.

(picture is typically Sammy and taken by Coffee Geek)

Interested in the Vancouver coffee scène? Don't forget to check this interesting Jimseven article about his visit this month.

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